Find out about what PFAS are and EPA’s advice about their presence in the environment.
PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of manufactured chemicals. There are more than 4000 types of PFAS, including:
Many products contain PFAS, including carpets, clothes and non-stick cookware. In the past, fire-fighting foams also contained PFAS.
PFAS and EPA: A quick reference guide (publication 1836)
There are low levels of PFAS in soil, sediment, water and animals across most of Victoria. Some locations, such as firefighting training sites, have higher levels of PFAS in the environment.
There is worldwide concern about PFAS because they:
Most of us are exposed to low levels of PFAS. This is mostly from eating food or drinking water with PFAS in it. This is unlikely to be harmful to our health. Recent studies show people's exposure to PFAS in the general environment is reducing.
Scientific studies in animals have shown some links between PFAS exposure and health effects. There is no consistent evidence that PFAS are harmful to human health, or cause any specific illnesses, even in the case of highly exposed occupational populations.
However, we still don’t know everything about how PFAS affects human health. This is why EPA takes a precautionary approach and advises Victorians to take care and reduce their exposure to PFAS.
Watch this video for more information:
Some ways to reduce exposure to PFAS include:
Reviewed 14 April 2021